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DAK Puncture costs Peterhansel potential stage win into Calama

MONSTER ENERGY X-RAID TEAM NEWS
33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile (January 1st-16th, 2011)

Stage 4: San Salvador de Jujuy-Calama: liaison, 554km; special, 207km; liaisons, 0km, total, 761 km.

Weather conditions: hot and sunny in Calama (torrential rain and thick cloud in Jujuy), 25-29°C

For immediate release
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

PETERHANSEL AND CHICHERIT CLAIM THIRD AND SEVENTH FOR
MONSTER ENERGY X-RAID TEAM ON STAGE INTO CALAMA

· Spain’s Carlos Sainz maintains overall lead after fourth special stage
· Terranova, Holowczyc and Novitskiy in 6th, 8th and 9th places

CALAMA (Chile): Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret maintained third overall in the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile after a long liaison section across the Andes mountain range and a relatively short 207km special stage through the Atacama desert between San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina and Calama in Chile on Wednesday.

Peterhansel began the day’s stage 4m 19s behind Spain’s Carlos Sainz and led for large sections of the special before finishing in third position behind Sainz and Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah after stopping to change a flat tyre. He now trails the Spanish defending champion by 5m 41s.

“About 50km before the end we had a slow puncture and had to stop and change the tyre,” said Peterhansel. “I think we could have won the special without the flat tyre, but third position is an ideal place to start the stage in the desert tomorrow, so it is not too bad. The stage was fast with quite a few bumps and I had to be careful because it was a little dangerous in the dust of some of the bikes.”

Guerlain Chicherit and Michel Périn had suffered minor brake problems on the third stage and the Monster Energy X-raid team mechanics had changed the brake cylinders as a precaution in San Salvador de Jujuy. The Mini All4 Racing crew began the stage in 14th overall and ninth on the road and were sixth through PC1 at 81km. They were troublefree throughout the special and recorded the seventh fastest time.

“It was a good feeling today and a nice drive without any problems,” said Chicherit. “We had no problems with the brakes and all is okay for tomorrow.”

Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin started the short stage in fourth position, but had slipped to ninth in the virtual rankings at PC1 after stopping to change a flat tyre. They eventually recorded the eighth fastest time and maintained fifth overall.

“We had a right-rear flat tyre not far after the start,” said Holowczyc. “The feeling was strange, because we got the flat tyre and arrived in an area of fesh-fesh and we had no power because we were driving with the puncture.”

Orlando Terranova and Filipe Palmeiro had maintained sixth overall on the stage into Jujuy and were seventh at PC1. They set the sixth quickest time on the day’s stage.

Russian Leonid Novitskiy and German co-driver Andreas Schulz were running in eighth position on the stage through the 81km point and finished the special in ninth place.

The Portuguese crew of Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and Paulo Fiùza started the first Chilean stage from 12th position in their Monster Energy-backed BMW X3 CC. They were classified in 11th through PC1 and finished the stage in a similar position.

Germany’s Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt completed the third stage in 28th overall and held 29th in the general classification at the start of the first Chilean stage. The pair was 22nd through PC1 and finished the special in 20th position.

The leading cars set out from the bivouac at San Salvador de Jujuy at first light to begin the 554km liaison across the Andes mountain range via the Paso de Jama. Thousands of spectators and onlookers lined the roads from the bivouac to the town and on towards the border. Many more had been present the previous evening to witness the cars, bikes and trucks arriving in the service park.

Torrential rain fell at the bivouac before the management and assistance vehicles were allowed to depart from 10.00hrs and heavy rain was forecast for the region for the rest of the day.

Peterhansel duly crossed the border and began the stage, near San Pedro de Atacama, third on the road behind Al-Attiyah and Sainz. Despite a minor indiscretion early in the special, the Frenchman was fastest through PC1, shaving a virtual 15 seconds off Sainz’s overall lead with Al-Attiyah a further 10s behind. Peterhansel continued to lead through the fourth waypoint check, but lost the advantage to Sainz and Al-Attiyah over the closing kilometres and eventually finished 1m 22s behind the leading Spaniard.

American driver Robbie Gordon was stopped with reported engine problems on the liaison section across the Andes.

Situated 2,260 metres above sea level, Calama is a city and commune in the Chilean Atacama desert. The capital of the El Loa Province, it is one of the driest cities in the world with average annual rainfall of just 5mm. It is a convenient gateway to nearby San Pedro de Atacama and the Valley of the Moon.

Tomorrow (Thursday) the Monster Energy X-raid Team continues its run north through the Atacama desert to an overnight halt at Iquique, a former finish venue for the Patagonia-Atacama Rally, on the Pacific coast.

Crews will tackle a punishing 432km special, which begins at over 3,200 metres above sea level and includes stony terrain, rough ground, a section of sandy passes towards the end and a daunting 2.3km sandy descent to the stage finish.

Positions on stage 4 (unofficial @16.45hrs):
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Volkswagen Race Touareg 1h 57m 09s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 1h 57m 59s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) BMW X3 CC 1h 58m 31s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 1h 59m 26s
5. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg 1h 59m 52s
6. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC 2h 01m 13s
7. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Michel Périn (F) Mini All4 Racing 2h 01m 47s
8. Kryzsztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) BMW X3 CC 2h 03m 05s
9. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Andreas Schulz (D) BMW X3 CC 2h 07m 44s
10. Guilherme Spinelli (BR)/Youssef Haddad (BR) Mitsubishi Lancer 2h 08m 32s
11. Ricardo Leal Dos Santos (P)/Paulo Fiùza (P) BMW X3 CC 2h 08m 44s

Other X-raid team
20. Stephan Schott (D)/Holm Schmidt (D) BMW X3 CC 2h 22m 01s

Positions after stage 4 (unofficial @16.45hrs):
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Volkswagen Race Touareg 11h 09m 14s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 11h 13m 38s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) BMW X3 CC 11h 14m 55s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 11h 28m 28s
5. Kryzsztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) BMW X3 CC 11h 36m 59s
6. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC 11h 42m 25s
7. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Andreas Schulz (D) BMW X3 CC 11h 58m 54s
8. Guilherme Spinelli (BR)/Youssef Haddad (BR) Mitsubishi Lancer 12h 08m 59s
9. Joan Roma (E)/Gilles Picard (F) Nissan Overdrive 12h 17m 46s
10. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg 12h 17m 50s
10. Christian Laveille (F)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Nissan Dessoude 12h 22m 41s

Other X-raid teams
12. Ricardo Leal Dos Santos (P)/Paulo Fiùza (P) BMW X3 CC 12h 27m 18s
14. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Michel Périn (F) Mini All4 Racing 12h 36m 27s
27. Stephan Schott (D)/Holm Schmidt (D) BMW X3 CC 13h 52m 48s

Ends

Further information and photos are available at www.x-raid.de or contact Stefanie Marquard/Thomas Quandt at X-raid GmbH, Tel: + 49 (0) 6147 204670, E-mail: s.marquard@x-raid.de and t.quandt@x-raid.de.

Date issued: 05/01/2011

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